My mom used to tell me that “only boring people get bored.” I grew up with this mindset, and since I didn’t consider myself a boring person, I never really claimed to be bored.
"Boredom is often uncomfortable... but what if we dug into that uncomfortable feeling?"
— Ana Yoder
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, boredom is “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” My question is this: How can there ever be a lack of interest?
Even in my most mundane, uninteresting classes, I can find something that grabs my attention, especially if it’s not related to the material (e.g. doodling in my notebook). I am strongly of the opinion that there is always something that can grab your interest, especially since interest can mean so many things.
A dull class can still include a variety of attention-grabbing activities, such as observing a particular raindrop on a window,
forging a professor’s handwriting or figuring out how many seconds are in 47 years. It just takes just a bit of creativity to find excitement in a mundane situation.
You might say that watching raindrops just isn’t fun. It’s not exciting, and you quickly lose interest, returning to your bored state. That’s where I want to challenge you.
Boredom is often uncomfortable, so we find ways to distract ourselves. But what if we dug into that uncomfortable feeling? What if, instead of feeling uncomfortable, we allowed ourselves to merely be?
By simply being, we both combat this feeling of boredom and wrestle with the complex question, “How can I simply be content in my space right now?”
I believe that there is a lot to be gleaned from examining yourself during a state of boredom. Why are you bored? What do you want to be doing?
To me, having an internal dialogue about my lack of excitement in something immediately releases me from boredom because I’m thinking and engaging with myself. It’s not easy to have an internal and fruitful conversation that leads to self-discovery, but perhaps some practice could yield beneficial results.
I think that by wrestling with boredom, we can find new perspectives on what it means to be interested in something. Instead of relying solely on external stimuli to entertain us, we can find meaning in our own minds.
This upcoming week I encourage you to engage in boredom. Sit still for two minutes and let your brain go static. Acknowledge your boredom in class and be creative in finding something exciting. Seek internal stimulation for entertainment, and I think before long, you’ll see that being bored is anything but boring.